Cairo's British Embassy services office closes for 'security reasons'

Ahram Online , Sunday 7 Dec 2014

The services office of the British Embassy in Cairo halts operations for security reasons 'until further notice'

British Embassy
British Embassy in Cairo (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The public services office of the British Embassy in Cairo has closed due to security reasons, the embassy said in a statement on its website on Sunday.

No reasons were given in the statement for the closure but British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson said on his official Twitter account that the office suspended its work for security reasons.

In London, a spokesperson of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) confirmed to Ahram Online that the decision to close the embassy was taken "for security reasons, and until further notice". 

The embassy statement highlighted that the office of the British Consulate-General in Alexandria will be operating normally.

A media spokesperson at the embassy also told MENA news agency that the suspension was due to security reasons. He also said the embassy is discussing with the Egyptian government means to re-open the services office.

The spokesperson refused to give further details, or a date for when services would resume.

The closure of embassy services has not led to a change of the British government's travel advice on Egypt.

In its travel advice on Egypt, the FCO states that militant attacks in the country have almost exclusively targeted security forces and government buildings.

It advises against all travel to the North Sinai Governorate, which shares a border with Israel, and "against all but essential travel" within 50 kilometres of the Libya border.

The advice excludes popular tourist destinations along the Nile River, including Luxor, and Red Sea resorts such as Sharm El-Sheikh, which have remained calm.

The British Embassy suspended its services in Egypt in January 2013 as clashes and violence on Cairo's streets heightened as Egyptians marked the 2011 revolution's second anniversary.

A public services office linked to the British Embassy, however, has been operating and providing visa and travel services.

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